How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog?: Most of the articles that pop up in Google search results for this particular query just want to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about blogging.
The way they say you can create your own blog "with just $50" or "$100" makes one wonder if $50 or $100 is really such a less amount as they make it sound. Trust me, it is not.
And blogging is way cheaper than that.
But since most of us do not have the least bit of idea of the available options, people exploit it to earn some quick bucks through affiliate marketing and stuff - getting us to purchase overpriced services that we probably don't need. Well, not when we are just starting off, at least.
What Exactly Do You Need To Start A Blog?
To understand how much it costs to start a blog, you need to know what exactly you need to start a blog. Basically, you just need two things:
- A domain name
- A hosting service
What Is A Domain Name?
A domain name is the address of your website. It is where people visit to access your website.
Serious blogging needs a custom domain. A custom domain is a unique name that identifies a website. For example, Blogsepria's custom domain is blgxpria.com.
The custom domain represents your brand. No other website in the world will have the same custom domain as yours.
In order to have a custom domain, you need to register the domain name. And you need to pay for the domain name registration.
You can also have it for free for your website/blog. But it will not be as same as a custom domain. Most of the blogging platforms provide free sub-domains.
For example, if you create a free blog on WordPress.com, the address of your blog will be example.wordpress.com. Here, your site is a sub-domain of WordPress.com.
The disadvantage of having a site address like this is that it looks unprofessional. example.wordpress.com doesn't look as professional as example.com. It doesn't carry the same weightage and brand value.
So, if you are serious about building a blog and monetizing it, it is recommended you purchase a domain name. Domain names are not very expensive. You can purchase a .com domain (which is the most preferred, widely used domain extension) for less than $10. And it is something that you need. Some domain extensions cost even less than 2$.
And if you are blogging for fun, you can go for the free sub-domains provided by blogging platforms.
What Is A Hosting Service?
A hosting service is required to host your blog/website.
It is, basically, a server along with the necessary infrastructure and technologies to store your blog/website - the design, content, and everything else.
It is this blogging service that most of the articles on Google fools you into buying.
I am not saying that you don't need a hosting service. But you have to understand your requirements first. And you have to understand what exactly will a hosting service provide that you cannot have for free.
Some of the reasons why you, according to many articles, would need a hosting service are:
a. Affordable Pricing With Free Domain, Free Domain Privacy, Blah, Blah Blah...
Of all things, this is the one that pisses me off the most.
First, it is not affordable.
When people say you can create a blog for 3-4$ a month with a certain hosting provider, what they don't reveal is this:
- This low pricing is true only when you pay for at least one year in advance. That makes it around 50$. If you opt for a monthly billing cycle, the price is far higher than that.
And in this one year, when you are still building your blog, in all possibility, you are not going to need most of the things that the plan covers. Basically, you will be paying for things that you are not going to use. The next points elaborate on this.
- Most of the hosting providers sell domain names at a higher price. So, do not be fooled when they say that the hosting plan comes with a free domain.
First of all, you have to purchase the hosting plan for an entire year to get the free domain. That is, you have to pay around 50$ for things that you are not going to use any way to get a free custom domain.
Second, the renewal price for that domain name will be far higher than their standard prices. So, better buy only the domain name from a domain registrar at a lower price.
- Many domain registrars, including Google Domains and Namecheap provides free domain privacy. Basically, if a hosting plan comes with free domain privacy, it is not a big deal. It's not something to be excited about and purchase the plan.
b. Unlimited Bandwidth
Hosting Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred between the server and the computers (of your users) within a specific time.
When people land on your website or blog, what happens behind the scene is something like this: the user sends a request (for a particular web page) from the browser of their computer to the server where the website is hosted and the server responds by sending the requested web page. In this process, data is being transferred between the server and the user's computer.
The amount of data transfer that a hosting service allows within a specific time, let's say, a month, is the bandwidth of the hosting service.
Now, unlimited bandwidth is good when you have a large number of visitors (like, lakhs of visitors) coming to your blog/website every month.
But when you are just starting off, you will barely get these many visitors. So, at this point, you don't need unlimited bandwidth. Even a monthly bandwidth of 100 GB will be more than enough. If you have a well-optimized blog, a bandwidth of 100 GB can handle thousands of visitors every month.
And there are free web hosting services that provides 100 GB bandwidth every month.
- GitHub Pages (though not recommended for business sites)
- Netlify: 100GB/month — Soft
- Render: 100 GB/month/service
c. Unlimited Storage
Again, do you need unlimited storage?
Especially, if it's a blog, you are mostly going to store only text and images. Maybe sometimes videos. For that, you don't need unlimited storage. Even 1 GB of storage would be enough for that. And it will take you a long time to completely utilize this 1 GB storage.
Of course, once your website/blog grows and you have thousands of web pages having text, images, videos, etc., you will need more storage. Until then you don't need unlimited storage.
Some of the free options are:
- GitHub: 1 GB for each repository.
- Netlify: 100 GB
d. Free SSL Certificate
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Sites with SSL starts with HTTPS instead of HTTP. Deploying SSL to your website ensures secure connection. This means, the transmission of information between the server and the user's computer will be encrypted and no one will be able to steal it.
Now, this is especially important when sensitive information like password and credit card/debit card details are transferred. But even if you are just blogging and not transferring these kinds of sensitive information, having a basic SSL certificate deployed to your blog is important. Because:
- Google prefers HTTPS to HTTP. Hence, it is important for SEO ranking.
- Visitors trust sites with an SSL certificate.
So, yes. It is important.
But it's just a blog and no sensitive information is being transferred, you don't need end-to-end encryption, you don't need any advanced SSL certificate. A basic one will do.
And you can get it for free. Cloudflare and Let's Encrypt are two of the most popular options.
Of course, the free SSL certificates are not as secure as the paid ones. But for a blog, that's all you need.
e. One-Click WordPress Install (Or Any Other App Install)
This is another gimmick used by many to attract attention or increase appeal.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) powering almost 30% of all websites. It is basically a software to manage your website/blog. It makes it extremely easy to add and update your blog content. And you don't need to have any technical knowledge to use WordPress.
Also, it comes with tons of features, like ability to add themes from a wide range of choices, ability to add plugins for every additional feature you want in your website. Basically, it gives you complete control over your website.
But it has its own limitations, like:
- WordPress, with all its features and unnecessary codes and scripts, makes the site extremely slow. This is not good for SEO ranking.
- Most of these features are not really necessary if you are running a blog. If anything, it just distracts and you end up doing everything except creating content.
- With all these settings that WordPress and WordPress plugins come with, sooner or later you realize that it requires quite a lot of technical knowledge.
- Since it is the most popular CMS, it can be the primary target for anyone with malicious tendencies.
- Although the software itself is free, making the best use of it needs one to have a good hosting service. Shared hosting plans are not always reliable and dedicated hosting is expensive.
So, if you consider all these disadvantages of WordPress, I think it's really not a great option especially when you have just started your blog and you are paying for it. At this point, your focus should be to create content and not bang your head on other stuff around your website.
And this same logic applies for most of the other apps for which hosting services provide one-click installations.
For a blog, you can just write in Markdown (which is extremely easy to learn and has all the necessary formatting options) on Notepad or any other distraction-less text-editor, and then upload it where your site is stored.
So, All These Are Really Not Required?
If you are just starting a blog, you really don't need all these. Why spend money on things that you don't need?
If it is a blog for a already thriving business and you have a budget, in that case, you should go for a paid hosting plan. Because in that case, you already have a audience.
Otherwise, the free services available will be enough. Once your blog starts growing, then you can easily move it to a paid service.
So, How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog? Like Really?
Well, to summarise all the things that I have said above:
- If you are blogging for fun, you need neither a custom domain nor a hosting plan. You can just create a free blog on WordPress or Blogger or on any other free blogging platforms.
- If you are serious about blogging but you are just starting off, all you need is a custom domain. You don't need a paid hosting service at this point. You can use free web hosting solutions, like:
a. Netlify and Render (for static site hosting),
b. 000webhost (for WordPress hosting),
c. Unubo (for Ghost hosting)
This means, you can create your blog with less than 10$ (if you want a .com domain).
- If you have an existing business and want to create a blog for the same or if you already have a blog that is growing, you can go for a paid professional hosting plan. In that case, you might have to spend 50$-100$ for a Shared Hosting plan.
So, now you know how much does it cost to start a blog. I hope it explains everything in details.
If you have any confusion, feel free to get in touch with me. I will definitely try to help you out.